General Charles de Gaulle - Special Guests - Expo 67 - Library and Archives Canada
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GENERAL CHARLES DE GAULLE

During a meeting with General de Gaulle at the Élysée palace, Daniel Johnson, Quebec's premier at the time, officially invited the French President to visit him in Montreal during Expo 67.

De Gaulle initially turned down the invitation, but later changed his mind and decided to make the trip.

For reasons of protocol, French President de Gaulle decided to cross the Atlantic on board the cruiser Colbert. On July 24, 1967, in Montreal, the second largest French-speaking city in the world, de Gaulle gave a rousing speech to an enthusiastic crowd filled with the spirit of the Quiet Revolution. It was during that speech that he made his famous statement, "Vive le Québec libre!" from the balcony of Montreal's City Hall. A declaration which sent shockwaves across the country and even around the world. The following day, he headed to Expo to celebrate the national day of the France pavilion.

Several thousand people came to cheer for him during the official ceremony at Place des Nations. De Gaulle then visited many of the pavilions, including those of Canada, Quebec, Great Britain, the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy, as well as Africa Place. In fact, he made official visits to more pavilions than any other head of state. The day ended with a dinner at the French pavilion, where he was joined by Premier Daniel Johnson, Mayor Jean Drapeau, Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger and Commissioner Pierre Dupuy.



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